Hey guys! Newbie incubator Mom here, and this is my first set of duck eggs to hatch. So far I’m seeing very obvious differences in my eggs and on day 7 I noticed 4 were questionable so I waited to candle again today at day 10 (just in case there were slow developers?) well today I removed 2 eggs and there’s one I’m stumped on. It’s dark but not like the ones developing well and there’s some vein spots in there, and the yolk doesn’t move- but there’s an obvious difference in the development. I’m not sure if this was one that tried but did not succeed and I should take it out or if it’s just developing differently?
If there’s anyone who could help, I’m attaching a picture. Thank you guys!
Chicken egg incubation is generally 21 days. Duck eggs are 28 days. My experience of many years of incubating eggs is: Put them in the incubator and leave them alone. They either hatch or they don't. The more you handle them, the more they go through temperature and humidity changes that occur from handling them, the less likely the results will be what you want. There are tons of internet search results and YouTube videos that will explain everything you need to know.
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By now you will have gotten your answer as to whether that was a good growing egg or not!
In my experience, after 7 days, I have always been able to see a the little heart fluttering - it looks like a little black smudge that flitter flutters in rhythm. If you didn't see that, or even a much darker mass that moves in response to handling, then I have always found them to be dead eggs. I make a habit of checking at 7 days and again, if I find some questionable ones, again at 11 or 12 days and then I remove the ones that are not developing. I've had rotten eggs explode on me and 0% of people want that experience.
Here is my opinion on handling incubating eggs. I've watched our runner ducks hatch out their own batches in the duck house, and the mama builds a big old volcano style nest, with layers of eggs. She routinely gets up, juggles eggs around, scoots them with her beak, and then settles on the rearranged stack. I have a hovabator that I use that has a fan but no egg turner, so 3 times a day, up until I stop turning them 3 days before hatch, I lift the lid and rustle them around gently. The incubator loses a degree or 2 in heat, but I have always had at least a 75% hatch rate. The same, from my observation and cleaning out of the duck house post hatch, that my lady runners enjoy.
I think 75% is good. Other's might think higher is better. I have just tried to watch what the mama's do and mimic it. I use my bare hands, no gloves or anything. The only thing I've noticed that is VERY important is the humidity factor. Lower humidity means tough eggs and poorer hatch rate. I keep my incubator at 60% humidity all the time until 3 days prior to hatch and then I just fill all the trays and make it nice and damp in there.
Curious how it turned out for you! How exciting! I have a good batch in the incubator right now, and they will be peeping in about 2 weeks. So far, 95% of them have had living babies so we will see how many survive the last 2 weeks and hatching.